Busby to compile anthology of African women writers

Busby to compile anthology of African women writers

Myriad has commissioned writer and broadcaster Margaret Busby to compile a "major" new anthology about African women writers from the past 25 years.

A follow-up to Busby’s "much-lauded" original anthology, Daughters of Africa which was published by Cape in 1992, this new companion volume will be titled New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of 20th and 21st Century Writing by Women of African Descent.

Arranged chronologically, it will bring together the work of women from across the globe— from Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA—to show the remarkable range of the African diaspora. "It will celebrate both a unifying heritage and a richness and magnitude of imagination, illustrating an uplifting sense of sisterhood and the strong links that endure from generation to generation as well as the common obstacles that female writers of colour continue to face as they negotiate issues of race, gender and class", said the publisher

With much of the material specially commissioned for the anthology, New Daughters of Africa will feature a wealth of genres including autobiography, memoirs, oral history, letters, diaries, short stories, novels, poetry, drama, humour, politics, journalism, essays and speeches. It will showcase key figures, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Malorie Blackman, Andrea Levy and Zadie Smith, as well as overlooked historical authors and today’s "exciting" new and emerging writers.

Publishing director Candida Lacey, who commissioned the original Daughters of Africa, said the new anthology will be "one of the most significant" collections of writers across the diaspora.

"Margaret Busby is presenting an alternative contemporary literary canon and demonstrating the global sweep, diversity and literary achievements of women writers of African descent whose voices, despite ongoing discussions, remain under-represented and underrated", said Lacey. "It is an extraordinary undertaking and a significant step on the journey between recovering the past and looking ahead to a burgeoning future."

Busby was born in Ghana and educated in Britain. She co-founded the publishing company Allison & Busby, where she championed C.L.R. James, Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah and many others, before becoming director of Earthscan. She has judged numerous literary awards, including the Caine Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and served on the boards of English PEN, Wasafiri magazine and other cultural organizations. Her recent honours include the 2015 Henry Swanzy Award and the Royal Society of Literature’s Benson Medal in 2017.

Lacey acquired World rights to New Daughters of Africa directly from Busby. Myriad will publish in Autumn 2018 and donate profits to charities working to improve literacy and opportunities for girls and women in Africa.